September 4, 2014
President and CEO Tony Paciulli is very clear about priorities at Meetinghouse Bank: “We emphasize personal attention” he tells his clients and staff. That philosophy is especially the case, it seems, when someone attempts to hold up his bank.
Last Thursday, shortly after 2 p.m., a lone note-passer demanded cash from a teller at the Lower Mills bank and then, with money in hand, fled on foot down Richmond Street. “I heard the teller scream and I came out of my office and saw him going out the door,” Paciulli told the Reporter. Intent on giving the matter his “personal attention,” the chief executive followed the man down Richmond Street, and caught up with him a block away at the corner of Butler Street.
“I tried to tackle him to the ground, but he was too big,” Paciulli said, describing the suspect as weighing more than 300 pounds. “We took a couple of shots at each other, but when I saw him reaching into his pants, I backed off, in case he had a knife or a gun.”
The suspect tried to give back some of the money, Paciulli said, by throwing it at him, but the cash fell to the street.
He continued to follow the man, but lost sight of him at a dead-end private way a half-block away.
“The guy tried to jump the fence at the end of Swan Court, but he was too big and heavy to get over it,” Paciulli said. A passing motorist saw the commotion and pulled over, and helped look for the suspect until a substantial force of police arrived and took up the chase, fanning out into back yards and looking for any sign of housebreaks.
A police source told the Reporter they found a door to a Swan Court apartment had been kicked in. A Boston Police K-9 dog was brought in, and the suspect, David Lydon, 28 of Chelsea, was found hiding there.
“Police were everywhere,” said Nicole Manny Mareira, a Richmond Street resident who joined other neighbors who had come out to the street to see what was going on. The neighbors initially feared that the suspect had broken into the six-family house on Swan Court, and were fearful for the residents.
“My friend Mary lives there with three little boys,” Manny Mareira said. “No one was home, thank God.”
Multiple police reports indicate that the attempt at Meetinghouse Bank was the third robbery effort last week for Lydon, who has been charged in a bank robbery Aug. 26 at a Santander Bank branch in East Milton Square, and a downtown Boston bank days earlier.
Milton Police Chief Richard Wells confirmed that Lydon was wanted for the Milton heist.
“It looks like he did two in a row,” Wells said in a phone interview. “It looks like he did a bank downtown, then in Milton, then he took a day off before hitting Lower Mills.”
There were three charges entered against Lydon in Dorchester District Court, with one of them recognizing the gap between pursuer and pursuee last Thursday: Unarmed robbery of a bank; B&E in the daytime; and assault and battery on an elderly citizen, Tony Paciulli himself, who turned 65 last April.
For Paciulli, the afternoon offered a distinct déjà vu reality: On the same date – August 28 – six years ago, a man passed a note to a teller at the bank and got away with a sum of money. Ten days later, the man was back in the bank, intent on a second robbery. The staff recognized him and he left the premises with Paciulli in hot pursuit. An officer in a passing cruiser apprehended the man with Paciulli’s assistance.
A September 9, 2008 Reporter story gave these details:
“Paciulli said one of his staff yelled out, and he jumped up from his phone conversation to find out what was happening: ‘They said that’s the robber from last week. He was running flat out up Richmond Street and I took off after him. He had a pretty good head start because I couldn’t make the (traffic) light and he did. I chased him down Richmond, past the CVS and down by the construction project.’
“Now in full pursuit, the banker flagged a Boston police car in the CVS lot for assistance, telling him of the attempted robbery. The cop called for assistance, and joined the chase, his siren wailing and his blue lights flashing. ‘He went by me just as I rounded the corner [at Washington Street], ’Paciulli said. The suspect stopped running when the police car headed him off. I told the officer we believe that’s the man who robbed the bank a week ago, and he tried to do it again, and we recognized him and I just took chase.’
“What was going through Paciulli’s mind when he took chase after the alleged robber? “I was thinking of that movie “Network,” where he said he’s mad as hell and not going to take it anymore,” the bank president said. “Seeing the women being terrified over the last week and a half, and the sense of being held hostage, for the sake of the neighborhood this young man needed to be caught. And that’s all I was thinking when I went after him, to get him out of this neighborhood. This is a good neighborhood.”
“But what would he have done if he had caught up with him without the police? “I grew up in the city, and no one takes anything away from you,” he said. “I knew he would end up subdued and on the ground.”
The bottom line for Tony Paciulli seems to be: When it comes to his bank, everything is personal. You do what you have to do.